Love In Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell To Arms

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Hearts beating, fingers trembling, love is one of the most complex emotions people experience every single day. Love, a controller of actions, can influence actions to the point where one is lost in an illusion. In A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, Catherine Barkley meticulously creates an illusion of love in order to fulfill her desires thereby leading Frederic, an oblivious man lost in an illusion, into an escape from reality. Catherine begins her plan by replacing the role of two important men in Frederic’s life, the priest and Rinaldi, in order to make Frederic solely dependent upon her. Sandra Spanier writes about how “Catherine Barkley is the synthesis of the priest’s faith in an ideal love and service tempered by a Rinaldi-like…show more content…
During Frederic and Catherine’s first kiss, he “tried to open her lips” but “they were closed tight” (Hemingway 27). At this point in time Catherine does not want to move on and feels guilt at kissing Frederic. However, as the kiss progresses Frederic “could feel her heart beating” and notice that “her lips opened and her head went back against my hand and then she was crying on my shoulder” (Hemingway 27). The symbolic meaning behind her lips opepning during the kiss shows that she wants to use Frederic as a means of attaining the love she desires. Spanier writes about Catherine's need to fulfill her desires when she says that “we begin to understand what must have been taking place in her mind when she made Frederic pronounce the words she wished so desperately from her dead lover” (Spanier). Spanier’s criticism shows how Catherine all along had just been using Frederic as a character in her fantasy to play her dead husband. The juxtaposition of “dead lover” and “stranger” shows how Frederic means nothing to her, she only looks at him not for what he is but for what he is not. She sees her dead husband in him, not Frederic Henry. Catherine has produced this devious plan and created a fantasy that she can live in to fulfill her desires, while Frederic thinks it is real
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